Bosses at Leven’s biggest employer have explained new working practices at its Banbeath base which could mean major change for workers.
Drinks giant Diageo has agreed from this summer, after a sizeable consultation process, to transfer logistics operations at Leven to well-known firm WH Malcolm, with which it has a long association, and make a voluntary settlement offer to some employees.
Fears expressed in the community, however, had reached the Mail about possible redundancies or major changes faced by workers who were affected by the move, with many said to be unhappy over it.
One local man said the practice of involving other firms in work was understood, but staff feared they may lose current benefit entitlements if they made the transfer.
Morale was low and there was a feeling of “disappointment and anger,” said the man, adding: “It is disappointing that a company which promotes itself as having morally and ethically sound values would feel the need to hit its dedicated employees in such a way.”
However, Diageo has said no one is being made redundant and there had been very close and open communications throughout the process with the workers’ representatives and trade unions.
Employees did have the option of moving to WH Malcolm – with their existing terms and conditions protected – but many have chosen to take the voluntary settlement,
In a bid to remain competitive and efficient, the firm decided to outsource its main logistics operations – the moving of raw materials and finished goods – to the Malcolm group, which affected 134 of the 900 or so workers.
“We announced this change to our employees at Leven in June 2014 and, since then we have worked closely with affected employees and their trade union representatives to offer as much choice as possible,” said a spokesman.
Half of the staff affected will be staying with Diageo and transferring to other roles. The other 67 have chosen to take a “generous voluntary settlement” offered by the company, said the spokesman.
“Employees did have the option of moving to WH Malcolm – with their existing terms and conditions protected – but many have chosen to take the voluntary settlement,” he added.
Another option was to take the settlement and make a new application for jobs with Malcolm, which may mean different terms, added the spokesman.
“We value the strong partnership approach we have with our employees and trade unions and we have worked very closely with them over the past nine months to manage this change as carefully and collaboratively as possible.
“Diageo is not a logistics company and the vast majority of our logistics operations are already carried out by specialist partners, such as WH Malcolm.
“None of our core business at Leven of producing and packaging quality brands is affected by this move. Our manufacturing business at Leven competes in a very tough global marketplace and we need to remain competitive.”